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The Hobbit: The Desecration of Tolkien

So we went and saw The Hobbit, Desolation of Smu-ogg (as apparently it’s pronounced, though I’ve always (in my mind) pronounced it with one syllable — smaug or smog).

I used to read The Hobbit — along with The Lord of The Rings trilogy — every other year at Christmas time, so for me the books feel like winter and Christmas trees, fireplaces and sugar cookies.

Here’s a thought: The best...

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The Right Side of History

“The Charter Committee’s job is to make recommendations to the city council about any proposed changes that they may discern after reviewing the charter and hearing from the citizens of Omaha,” said Stephen Pedersen, Charter Committee member.

Tuesday afternoon, Dec. 3, saw the last meeting of the city’s Charter Committee. Approximately every 10 years, the Mayor’s office and the City Council...

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Third Quarter Reviews: The Twitter Edition

No, this isn’t my year-end list of favorite albums; this is me catching up on the third quarter album reviews (halfway through the fourth quarter). Due to the sheer number under consideration — and in this 140-character Twitter age — each gets only one sentence because isn’t something that someone's poured their heart into for months (or years) worth only one sentence of criticism?

Well, it’s...

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No More Empty Pots

Addressing the food insecurity problems that nag poverty-stricken northeast Omaha, where access to fresh, organic produce, dairy and bread products is limited, are an array of individuals, organizations, projects and initiatives. Many efforts aim to educate residents on how to grow their own food, cook healthier and eat better. That’s part of the mission of a fairly new nonprofit player in the...

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Unsung Hero

“I didn’t set out to be the poster child for this but I want to put a face with it because I feel like a lot of the stigma is still there. People hear HIV/AIDS and they think of someone who is frail and sickly looking and I am far from that,” said Tommy Dennis.
Dennis, 26, was recently named an Unsung Hero by POZ magazine for his volunteer work with Nebraska AIDS Project. He is one of 100...

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Bu-bu-bu-bu-Bleep!  What’s that Noise on the new Arcade Fire Album?

We were sitting around a table at The Barley Street Tavern waiting for the band to get its shit together when the discussion turned to the weird bleep-bloop sounds recorded at the end of pre-recorded cassette tapes.

“I think those are some sort of signal to tell you it’s time to turn the tape over,” said the guy sitting with us, a music legend (of sorts). But I knew he couldn’t be right. The...

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Payne’s Nebraska: The Sad, Old, Boring Life

I’ve been interviewing rock bands for The Reader going on 20 years now. Whenever I do a phoner with a touring rock band coming through town for the first time, I ask the interviewee to list his/her preconceived notions of our fair city and Nebraska in general.

The five most common misconceptions about Nebraska:

1. It's flat
2. It's barren
3. It's boring
4. It's one gigantic Boys Town...

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Giving kids a fighting chance

Organizations serving at-risk kids come and go but few stay the course the way the CW Youth Resource Center, 1510 Cass Street, has since opening in 1978.

Founder-director Carl Washington hosts a Nov. 29 open house at CW from 4 to 8 p.m. to celebrate 35 years of structured youth activities. Alums, supporters and the general public are welcome.

His experience mentoring youth began a decade...

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